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North Adams Housing Authority Receiving Capital Fund Increase
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
02:48AM / Friday, May 25, 2018
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The Housing Authority board voted to table a community center project after failing to obtain funding for it.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Housing Authority will receive $686,580 in federal Public Housing Capital Funds to make improvements to its properties.
 
Executive Director Jennifer Hohn announced in a press release Thursday that the award will increase $236,679 from last year and will allow the expediting of some needed improvements.
 
"North Adams Housing Authority is extremely excited and grateful in this economic climate to be receiving such a substantial increase in our capital funding," Hohn said. "This which will enable us to get ahead of capital improvement goals and needs of our developments, in addition, to improve on the quality of life of our residents."
 
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has released $2.6 billion throughout the country that will provide funding to approximately 3,100 public housing authorities to build, repair and modernize public housing in their communities.
 
Hohn noted that $32,694.49 of this increase was given to the Housing Authority as a bonus because it is such a high performer.
 
Although the Housing Authority may be receiving this increase, Hohn announced at Monday's meeting that she cannot find a funding source for the proposed Greylock Community Center Project at the Greylock Valley Apartments.
 
"I can't seem to find any funding source for this at all. I know HUD doesn't have any right now," she said. "The banks that I have spoken to, they aren't willing to go into a situation like this."
 
Hohn said the project was estimated to cost nearly $1 million and the Housing Authority is unable to borrow this amount of money. She added she cannot find a grant source and HUD does not see the project as a priority 
 
"There is not a priority to build a community center with everything going on with HUD," she said. "There is $7 million in cuts."
 
The Housing Authority board officially voted to suspend the project but Hohn noted that they still have the plans if an opportunity were to arise.
 
"Maybe in the future, we have the drawings and we have the plans," she said. "We can put it on the back burner and get it off the agenda."
 
In other business, Hohn said the city needs to continue testing the former Sun Cleaners property at 111 River St.
 
"They are still doing more testing and they have to dig deeper wells so they can see and make the case to [the state Department of Environmental Protection] that there is no groundwater contamination or that it is minimal," Hohn said. "Then they will go from there."
 
The Housing Authority board has been trying to dissolve Housing Opportunities Inc. for the past six years and 111 River St. is the last property it must transfer to the city before it can officially disband the program created to help first-time homeowners.
 
The city is hesitant to accept the former dry cleaners because of possible contamination. It accepted several other properties and the HOI account, which would be used to fund the remediation 111 River if necessary.
 
The testing procedure needs to take place over three months.
 
"It is taking a long time. Much longer than I anticipated but there is nothing I can do about it," Hohn said.
 
The Housing Authority also voted to elect Colin Todd as the new vice chairman. Former vice chairwoman and tenant member of the Housing Authority Michelle Martinez has left the commission.
 
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